Published Jun 17, 2009From involuntary manslaughter to overweight children to a sexualized string instrument, the dramatic short films from the Canadian Film Centre offer more of the expected within the realm of student filmmaking. Of course, they also showcase a couple of nascent filmmakers with unpolished potential definitely worth checking out.
Perhaps the strongest of this grouping is opening short "The Hunt," where an ex-convict takes his increasingly troublesome son on a wilderness hunting trip in an effort put him back on the straight and narrow. What works here is the consistent tone and lack of unnecessary visual embellishment, forcing the dramatic heft to the forefront. Even if the story is fairly routine the mode in which it transpires brings a sense of urgency.
More visibly "student" is "Pudge," a short about an overweight girl in a foster care home who is teased about her ramshackle winter coat. In an effort to earn money to buy a new one, the girl meets an eccentric older woman with whom she forms a bond, of course. Perfunctory and uninspiring, this one felt unfinished, unlike "The Cello," which, visually, is the most powerful entry in this collection of films. Eroticizing smoking and the cello, this short tells the pubescent story of a young man who takes up the instrument to be closer to the hot teacher. It starts out strong but falls apart somewhere around the middle when sombreness gives way to cliché and familiar quirkiness.
"Adam Avenger" offers the unique perspective of a young man who views the separation of his parents through the eyes of a superhero, but proves far too precious and cloying to be entirely successful. It does show, however, an impressive aptitude for working with child actors and a firm understanding of the medium, despite visible limitations.
On the lower end of the grouping, "The Morning Party" follows a group of uncharismatic and inarticulate boys as they eat breakfast, repeatedly say, "fuck" and beat someone up. This is what happens when someone tries way too hard to be "hip."